Murder victim's sister faces killers in court

UPDATE: THE sister of Gold Coast murder victim Shaun Barker has slammed his killers, telling them: "You brutally murdered my brother. You decided his life wasn't worth living, You made sure he suffered."

Sheridan Mollenhauer delivered her emotional victim impact statement during the sentencing this morning of Cooloola Cove fisherman Stephen John Armitage, his son Matthew Leslie Armitage and their co-conspirator William Francis Dean.

Brisbane Supreme Court heard the men tortured Mr Barker over days before killing him.

Justice David Jackson said their brutality included trapping the 33-year-old father-of-one in an Esky and using a hose to "pipe water" into it until he "almost drowned".

He said the men also "smashed his face, kneecaps and every bone in his left hand" before he was murdered and dumped in a Gympie forest between December, 2013 and April, 2014.

Justice Jackson sentenced the Armitage men to life in jail with parole eligibility after 20 years.

Dean was considered the ring-leader of the crimes because he assaulted Mr Barker on the Gold Coast before taking him to Gympie in December of 2013.

The 41-year-old Toowoomba-born man was sentenced to life and he will not be able to apply for parole until he serves 20 years.

The three killers were convicted of murder, torture and interfering with a corpse in 2017.

Mr Barker's burnt body was found in a Gympie forest in April, 2014, and the trio were arrested the following October.

They faced trial in March and August of 2017 and they were sentenced this morning.

"There was evidence he (Mr Barker) cried out for water and food," Justice Jackson noted during the sentencing.

Justice Jackson noted the torture was likely related to drugs that the three killers believed Mr Barker had information about.

The men have been on remand since they were charged. - NewsRegional

EARLIER: THE three men who tortured and killed Shaun Barker before dumping his body in a Gympie forest will be sentenced this morning.

Cooloola Cove fisherman Stephen John Armitage, his son Matthew Leslie Armitage and their co-conspirator William Francis Dean were convicted last year after trial of Mr Barker's torture and murder.

The trio were also found guilty of interfering with a corpse.

Mr Barker was abducted from a Broadbeach service station in December, 2013, and his burnt remains were found in scrub Toolara State Forest about four months later.


Stephen John Armitage
Stephen John Armitage

The trial heard the 33-year-old Robina father had been subjected to abuse including being zip-tied to a tree and having honey poured on his genitals so ants would attack him.

The court heard how the deadly trio of men also locked him in an industrial-sized esky, leaving him there for days without food and water.

The Armitage men and Dean were arrested and charged in September, 2015.

Brisbane Supreme Court Justice David Jackson is due to start his sentencing at 10am.


Topics:  cooloola cove editors picks forest gympie matthew leslie armitage murder shaun barker sheridan mollenhauer stephen john armitage william francis dean

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